Ever stumble upon something that everyone else seems to know about or has tried, but for you it's a brand new oh-my-gosh discovery, and then you feel like an idiot, because, where have you been?
For me, that something was the combination of fresh strawberries, sugar and balsamic vinegar. I've certainly heard rumblings about it, but the idea of adding any kind of vinegar to strawberries just didn't seem right.
How wonderful to be oh-so-wrong.
Of course you do need to use balsamic vinegar, an aged, deeply flavored, somewhat sweet vinegar. An ordinary vinegar probably won't taste that good; if that's all you have use some grated lemon zest and a little lemon juice instead.
The mousse is extremely easy to make - folded together whipped cream, mascarpone and ricotta cheeses. This recipe is based on one from our local Sacramento food celebrity chef, Biba Caggiano, and is a great mostly make-ahead recipe for summer entertaining.
Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Grated zest of one lemon
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste
Whip cream to soft peaks
In a medium bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form.
Beat ricotta mascarpone mixture
In a large bowl combine the ricotta, mascarpone, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and lemon zest. Using an electric beater, whip the ricotta-mascarpone mixture until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Fold whipped cream into ricotta mixture, chill
Gradually fold the whipped cream into the ricotta until the mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Mix strawberries with sugar and balsamic
Put strawberries in another bowl. Half an hour before serving gently mix in the remaining sugar and balsamic vinegar. Make sure you don't let the strawberries sit in the balsamic vinegar much longer than 30 minutes before serving or the acidity of the vinegar will cook the strawberries.
When you are ready to serve, fill glass bowls halfway with the strawberries and their juices. Spoon on the ricotta-mascarpone mousse or use a pastry bag to pipe the mousse.